Remaining productive within the workplace while battling with manual based administrative tasks is a difficult balancing act.
Administration tasks, which include activities such as faxing, photocopying, scanning, filing, data entry, invoice processing and securing document approvals are a necessary part of office life, but how much is too much?
Could admin be affecting our ability to complete our core responsibilities and actually have a negative impact on employee and organisational productivity and performance?
Last year independent research* was completed to examine how manual tasks and administration based activity could be affecting our workforce productivity. Sixty three per cent of respondents commented that administration was impacting their productivity. Worryingly, nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents have seen a rise in their administrative workload over the past 12 months, with 39 per cent expecting to see this increase further over the coming year.
Another consideration is whether excessive or laborious administrative tasks have a broader impact on employee satisfaction on top of purely restricting the speed at which core tasks can be completed.
Some enterprises have policies that allow employees to spend some of their work time pursuing personal interests. Such environments are often designed to entice high-calibre job applicants, as well as encouraging innovation with the idea being that this investment could reap large rewards for the company aside from increasing employee satisfaction. For example, Google has what it calls “20-Percent Time”, where its employees spend one day each workweek on a project they’re passionate about.
For most companies however, the Google approach is a distant ideal, if not completely out of the question. Yet more than 60 per cent of respondents from the same research say if admin was halved they would use the time to focus on their core job. It is evidently important that organisations resolve this administration overload as a first step to improving workplace productivity and employee engagement.
When asked what they think can be done to help deal with the growth of administration, 35 per cent of respondents would like to see better use of technology to automate these jobs. A further 27 per cent want to employ better processes within the business to manage administration overload.
By simply identifying tasks which can be automated through effective workflows and smart technology implementations, businesses will improve their processes to give employees the freedom to grow in their core job roles and ultimately be more productive.
*The research for Canon Business Imaging was conducted independently by PureProfile in September 2012 and is based on 1,005 respondents across Australia.